Would Ventolin ease breathlessness that is caused by anemia?

Patient

Q: I have been very short of breath lately. At first they thought it was asthma, but I recently had some blood tests done and they found that I was low on iron, so they think it might actually be anemia. I'm now taking iron supplements, but I still get very short of breath. I have an inhaler left over from when they thought it was asthma; would using that still help, if it actually IS anemia?

Symptoms:  Breathlessness, fatigue
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. No, ventolin is a medication that is prescribed to treat airway constriction caused by asthma attacks. Your shortness of breaths is caused by decreased oxygen saturation within your circulation, leading to hypoxemia. As a result, you will experience shortness of breath. If your shortness of breath is not improving you may be at risk of becoming dizzy or even having a syncopal (fainting) episode). For this reason we recommend that you follow up with your doctor and explain your symptoms to see if you need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment with oxygen until your iron levels are at a normal level.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com

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